The first cherry blossoms of the season have arrived at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, heralding spring’s arrival in New York City.

“It’s official, the first cherry blossoms of the season have been spotted. Prunus ‘Okame’ (Japanese flowering cherry cultivar) is always one of the first cherry trees to bloom at the garden,” BBG announced on Thursday via Twitter.

The trees, located in the Cherry Cultivars section, are part of the garden’s renowned ornamental cherry collection. Their delicate, evanescent blooms are celebrated each year during hanami—the Japanese cultural tradition of savoring every moment of cherry blossom season. Hanami is a classic springtime celebration in New York City and one of the most magical times of year at the garden. 

Over the next several weeks the blossoms of more than 200 flowering cherry trees at the garden will transform from bud to bloom to blankets of petals scattered across Cherry Esplanade, Cherry Walk and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Consisting of more than 20 varieties, BBG’s collection is one of the most diverse of its kind in an American botanic garden.

Throughout hanami, Brooklynites can follow the garden’s cherry blossoms through its CherryWatch page. Updated daily, this online map provides up-to-the-petal blooming status for each tree in the main collection, as well as detailed information about each cultivar.

Cherry blossom season at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden culminates with the Sakura Matsuri, the annual festival celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. The 38th Sakura Matsuri will return on Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28. For tickets and details, go here. 

April visitors to Brooklyn Botanic Garden can also enjoy other early spring blooms including the spectacular displays of pink, white, and yellow magnolia blossoms on Magnolia Plaza, Daffodil Hill in full, sunny bloom, a charming selection of spring flowers from literature—including tulips, primroses, dwarf irises, forget-me-nots, and violets—in the Shakespeare Garden, and the unique yearly display of tulips and other bulbs in the Annual Border on Lily Pool Terrace.

Spring has sprung in Brooklyn!

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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